This age is called the Age of Raids for good reason, as our wealth was beginning to seriously attract the attention of raiders from near and far. Celtic pirates already had visited our shores in previous centuries without inflicting too much damage. But when the Romans started conquering Britain in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, raiding increased. In CE 80 arrived the biggest pirate of them all, the Romans themselves. They sought to control the copper trade and attacked and took Romoreiweza. Then they attacked Tinauros and laid it under siege. But the ranz managed to send for help, the siege was broken, the Romans were defeated and forced to retreat to the coast. The year after, they were chased from the mainland in a series of battles which have been a matter for songs ever since.
But the battles had been bloody in the typical Roman fashion, and costly in gold as well, as the Urianians were recruiting help from their Pictish neighbours to the south. And in 82 CE, when the Romans established a trading colony on the southern tip of the island to the east, then known as Jasanja, they were in fact able to control the trade and dictate the copper prices. They called the station Scollerinum, and Scollerin has since been the name of the island. Scollerinum was attacked, but it was well fortified, and in a sea battle the year after, the Urianian fleet was destroyed.
The situation with the copper trade under foreign control and more and more raids by Britons fleeing from Roman rule and by the opportunistic Scotti, started the long Urianian decline. Scollerinum was abandoned in 384, a quarter of a century before the British province itself, but this was scant relief, because the Urianians had their hands full with Celts who now were beginning to settle in the southwest.
Rise of Christianity
From the 6th century the settling Scotti were largely Christian, and their emissaries were beginning to preach the new religion elsewhere in the country. This met with strong, sometimes violent resistance at first, but then a handful of ranzes were converted and they started converting their underlings. Also elsewhere, lesser people were approached directly and converted, occasionally in large numbers. At the council of ranzes in 607, a motion to outlaw the religion was defeated. In 653, the council after a long debate voted to declare their support to the ancient gods. The Christian ranzes, who numbered 21, left the council and started their own. Meanwhile, the number of Christians among the underlings of the remaining ones was growing to the extent that one by one they felt compelled to convert. Around 800, the Christian ranzes made up about 30% of their total number, and it is estimated that over 70% of the Urianian population were Christians.
Scarcely had the Celtic raids started to abate before the first Vikings attacked in the 8th century. The ranzes had not been able to keep them from forming settlements on the eastern islands and many places on the eastern coast, and soon Tinauros became a focus of the attacks. It fell eventually in 955 to Finnr Eyvindsson, a 35 year old adventurer who renamed it for himself: Finnsstaðir, today’s Finstad. By the end of the millennium, the Norse controlled large tracts of land around the mines, and had conquered large proportions of the fertile lands of the south. At the inlet of Sektana in the southwest they founded Víkafjǫrðr, todays Wickford, which became an important port for the traffic westwards to Dublin and other western settlements.
Reaffirmation of faith
The new incoming conquerors were pagans, and the affected areas were the ones that were the most predominantly Christian. This turned the tide in the christianising of the Urianians, and at a meeting in 997, the surviving ranzes voted to defend their traditional religion and respect the ancient gods. Only 6 ranzes were Christians at the time; they were all present at the meeting and converted there. Of the Urianian population living in communities ruled by independent ranzes, amounting to approximately half of the island’s territory, it is estimated that 25% were still Christians at the turn of the millennium.